Ten executions scheduled in TN as victims wait decades - WSMV Channel 4

Ten executions scheduled in TN as victims wait decades for justice

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Photos of the 10 men scheduled for execution in Tennessee Photos of the 10 men scheduled for execution in Tennessee
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV-AP) -

The state of Tennessee has now scheduled execution dates for 10 men between this April and November 2015. Nine of them committed their crimes as many as 30 years ago.

For their victims and their advocates, it's a long time to wait for justice and closure.

The men now scheduled to die are an assortment of convicted killers, rapists and abusers whose defense attorneys have done an outstanding job of keeping them alive through multiple appeals at every level.

But the victims say it has been an indescribable agony.

"If we are not serious about doing it, why are we torturing the victims like this? It's torture for them. Every time there is an appeal, and you're talking about 25 years later after the case, suddenly the person is innocent. He didn't do it. And in many cases, people connected to the case are dead. Victims' family members are dead. Where is the justice in that?" said Verna Wyatt, with the group Tennessee Voices for Victims.

Take the case of Michael West, who was accused of raping, torturing and killing Wanda and Sheila Romine in Lake City. The crime was not unlike the Manson killings. Leave it at that, it was that bad.

The husband and father who discovered his family murdered spoke to Channel 4 News in 2001 on the eve of West's scheduled execution.

"I'll never get over it," Jack Romine said. "Everything I had was gone."

The execution was stalled after West appealed. Now, 13 years later, he's again scheduled to die. But Jack Romine won't be there. He died of a massive heart attack five years ago. His family says he never felt justice.

"When he passed away, he still didn't have any peace in him. It really is a disgrace to the victims and the families," said Romine family relative Eddie Campbell.

"When people see the picture of the human being sitting on death row, I want everyone to know, for every picture, there is a picture of someone else whose life was ended by that person, usually in a horrific and brutal way," Wyatt said.

Three of the executions are scheduled this year, with seven more in 2015.

Gov. Bill Haslam told the The Tennessean's editorial board Wednesday that he agrees with the decision to seek the executions although they didn't go through him. The state sought the execution dates after changing the drug protocol for lethal injections.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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